So many of us have asked, “Why?” “Why Buddy? “What was God thinking?” I was one of the humbly blessed ones to get a call in the middle of the night before Buddy had died, asked to pray.
Pray I did. Travail you might say. God have mercy, have mercy! Tears. Shock. Confusion. Prayer. It was 2:15am when I got the call.
I felt the burden lift about 30 minutes later and I heard the Lord start to say, “I’m doing this for you.”
In my finite mind, I couldn’t understand. You see I stopped my ears, I didn’t want to hear my own vain imagination. I wanted to hear God, but I just couldn’t grasp what that could mean.
Then the phone rang and it was Wayne again, “Buddy had a massive heart attack, (long pause) and he died.” Tears. Cries. Sobs. Thankful that Wayne was letting me cry and staying on the line. My mind racing. Myself sobbing. Finally able to catch my breath and stop to thank Wayne for staying on with me, I was able to let him go.
I cried, unaware of my surroundings, lost in the moment. Interceding. Mind reeling.
Then I hear Evan ask, “Mom? Did somebody die?” I hadn’t heard him descend the stairs.
Later I find out, my crying woke him up. Too many details after two days of mourning and making calls and praying, prayin’, trying to sleep. I’m not even trying to figure out what just happened. This morning I start to get a glimpse of what the Lord meant. Again, this is my own take; maybe like Job and his friends, but I haven’t completely read through that book to truly know. Anyway — to prepare us. With Buddy going first, God is still growing us up and teaching us through Buddy’s death and, through his life.
The building is not the church, we are. We are the body of Christ.
Eddie Brown, our recently returned missionary to Africa, said in his sermon this summer that you gotta know when to leave. If Jesus hadn’t left, the disciples would never have grown. If Eddie hadn’t left Africa, the men he discipled, wouldn’t have led as they needed to. And I think if Buddy hadn’t left, we wouldn’t have become who we needed to become. Think about how much you’ve grown in the last 36 hours. I bet it’s more than if Buddy hadn’t died. Quite a wake-up call Church, isn’t it?
I want to ask you a question. You need to answer it, but not aloud. Were you—in your decision making process, life choices, church activities decisions—asking what God wanted you to do or what Buddy wanted you to do? Were we in fear of man or in fear of God? Submission can be a confusing thing at times; I know I’ve been learning how to do it in my marriage, in the church structure, and in the body of Christ.
God is Sovereign. As all that was happening Thursday morning was going on, I kept reminding myself of that very important fact. God is Sovereign. He has a plan in this too. He shall have no other gods before him.
Have you grown? Been stretched beyond your comfort zone? God has to get us to the point where we no longer rely on ourselves, or on our own capabilities or talents, but that we rely on Him and Him alone. He wants us living a life where He alone gets the credit and glory for it. Are we dead yet? Dead to ourselves? Dead to our selfish ways? To what we want? Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it cannot produce fruit . . .
Buddy Walters was my Pastor at Triangle Community Church. He died on September 11, 2003.